Nearly three quarters of Gulf Cooperation Council employers are expecting to recruit new staff over the next year, according to a new report.
Recruitment firm Hays surveyed 4,250 employers and employees across the region to find out salary and hiring trends in 2017 and expectations for 2018.
The report found that 39 per cent of GCC salaries increased year-on-year in 2017, 52 per cent stayed the same and 9 per cent decreased, showing no change from 2016.
However, wage Increases were linked to workers finding new jobs rather than internal promotions or pay rises.
In 2018, 61 per cent of employees were found to be expecting a salary increase and 68 per cent of employers said they expected salaries to increase within their organisation.
Meanwhile, the headcount section of the survey found that 29 per cent of employees started a new job with a new company last year, similar to the 27 per cent in 2016. A further 51 per cent expect to start a new job in 2018, with most doing so to increase their salary.
On the employer side, 40 per cent of organisations increased the size of their workforce, 25 per cent retained the same staff level and 35 per cent reduced their headcount in 2017.
In the next 12 months, 71 per cent of employers are expecting to recruit new staff, suggesting a more positive outlook than 2017.
This was reflected in responses from both employees and employers.
Hays said 64 per cent of employees were positive about their career prospects this year and 66 per cent of organisations forecast an increase in market activity year-on-year.
But there was one warning note, with 50 per cent of employers suggesting employee engagement and staff retention would be their main HR challenges over the next 12 months.
A recent report by Korn Ferry Hay Group indicated salaries in the UAE would decrease in real terms this year as cost of living increases related to a newly introduced 5 per cent value added tax take effect.
The firm said this would mean challenging conditions for employers as they juggle new costs with meeting the expectations of disgruntled employees.